Aberdeen has been neglected as a city and is in need of “urgent” attention, according to the new principal of Robert Gordon University.
Speaking to Holyrood, in his first national interview since taking up the role in March, Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski sets out his priorities for RGU and its role in the economic development of Scotland and of Aberdeen. To draw investment to the city and make it a more attractive place to live, he believes regeneration is badly needed.
“We also need to look at Aberdeen itself as a city. I think there’s an urgent need for Aberdeen to get some attention. It’s actually a wealthy city, in fact I understand that it is statistically the second wealthiest city in the UK, but you walk through it and it looks neglected,” the principal said.
“So one of the things I’m going to be banging on about is, if we want to be an attractive location for investment, for example, we absolutely need to ensure that the city looks attractive because that’s one of the things people take decisions on. I think it’s been neglected, I think that needs to stop. So that’s another thing I’m focusing on.” The principal’s comments come as the new SNP Government puts renewed focus on the ‘cities agenda’, having appointed Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as Cities Minister.
“It’s needed and I think in part we’ve been hamstrung by the statistics of relative income and so on,” von Prondzynski added.
“So people don’t think we need to pay attention to [Aberdeen].
We do, we do. It’s very relevant.
If you take Union Street, which is just down the road from here, it should be a kind of showcase; Union Street is terrible, absolutely terrible.
“And there are all sorts of obvious things, like it should be pedestrianised and trees should be planted in the middle of it.
All sorts of things that will cost a little bit but actually won’t cost the earth and will make a huge difference to how the city feels to people who are there.”